On his death, Joe Stirling (1924-2020) left a generous legacy to Norfolk & Norwich Music Club (now Norwich Chamber Music), in appreciation of the great pleasure he had gained from his membership and the concerts it had organised. It was his wish that the legacy be used to provide an annual concert offering free admission to current members, his family and students.
The Trustees select the venue, programmes and performers, in accordance with Joe's preference for the John Innes Conference Centre and 18th and 19th century secular compositions.
The first Joe Stirling Memorial Concert was held on 5 March 2022 and featured the Maxwell Quartet, who delighted the audience with a repertoire interspersed with Scottish folk music and an old Scottish lament, to acknowledge the plight of the people of Ukraine following the Russian invasion.
Members are invited to make a voluntary contribution to extend the duration of the fund for future concerts (or at the Trustees’ discretion, the musical education of young people). Please contact the Chair if you would like to make a donation to the fund.
Joe Stirling was born in Germany in 1924 to Jewish parents and named Gunter Stern. He was fortunate to escape to this country from Nazi Germany in July 1939 aged 14, saved by the Kindertransport.
Subsequently, towards the end of World War II, he served in the British Army with distinction. It was whilst he was in the army that he was obliged, for obvious reasons, to anglicise his name. As his mates called him Joe and because he was stationed near Stirling at the time, he became Joe Stirling.
By the end of the war, he had risen to the rank of Sergeant in the Education Corps. Whilst stationed at Portsmouth, he had met Jean Skitmore, who was in the ATS and whose family lived in Attleborough, Norfolk. One of the first outings organised by Joe was to take a party, at the Army’s expense, to the Wigmore Hall to hear Schubert’s Winterreise. Jean was in the party!
Joe and Jean married and they settled in Norwich shortly after the war. They raised four children of whom he spoke with great pride. He established a very successful travel business in Norwich and in 1976, he was appointed the Sheriff of the City. He was a very keen supporter of the Lions and was a long-standing member of our charity.
We remember Joe with our grateful thanks.